retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the Financial Times:

"TikTok is launching live shopping in North America and plans to outsource its operation after the social media platform’s experiments with ecommerce in the UK struggled to take off. Los Angeles-based TalkShopLive is due to enter a partnership with TikTok on bringing TikTok Shop to the US. It will provide the underlying technology and support for live streams hosted by influencers, brands and retailers that want to sell their products on the app, said two people familiar with the operations."

FT notes that "the developments come as TikTok faces heightened scrutiny in the US, where politicians have raised fears that American user data is accessible by Beijing, given the platform’s Chinese owners ByteDance — concerns it denies. The Biden administration is reviewing efforts by former president Donald Trump to ban the company on national security grounds. TikTok is also working with the government on new data security practices to secure US user data."

TikTok Shop, the story says, "which allows users to buy products through links on the screen of the app during live broadcasts, was launched in the UK last year, its first market outside of Asia. It is available in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. The model has proved lucrative for TikTok’s sister app in China, Douyin, which has seen sales more than triple year on year in the 12 months to May."

I think we have to be very careful about allowing a Chinese government-controlled entity to be in a position where it can be gathering data about American citizens and consumers.  At this moment in history, that strikes me as being problematic.